Thursday, 29 July 2010

29th July - belated post for last weekend

Last weekend was very busy for us all and with Selsey Lifeboat week now well underway, I've only just found time to catch up with the Blog - the visibility continued to be good (8m+) under the Lifeboat providing you were diving on the low water slack (approx 1 m seems to be average vis on the 4 before slack at the moment) and plenty of marine life around. On Sunday I took the Advanced course to the TeaPot / Brigitta and we had about 3m visibility with plenty of light; barely needed the torches -  after the skills swam around the winches. Finished the course with our local drift dive - some nice large dogfish and an excellent plaice were the highlights - still trying to work out how my buddy pair managed to overtake the others (we were not finning); can only assume we were more streamlined.

Monday night we went to Calshot RNLI to collect the Training D class Lifeboat which will feature on Launch Day next Sunday (it's speciality act is the capsize) and heard all about the Sunderland Flying Boat propeller that was recently recovered - the wreck must be relatively close to the shore but tidal conditions make it virtually undiveable. :-(

We were delighted that 102 people (including some Mulberry divers) turned up for the Walking Treasure Hunt on Tuesday night - last night was the Quiz team at The Seal; we joined a small team (13!!) and managed to come 3rd. Sunday (Launch Day) we will have our usual stand on the Lifeboat Green.

Next Friday is the 'friendly' cricket match against the Lifeboat team - this is the first time we've done this so we're not quite sure what to expect :-) - everyone is welcome to come and watch / support - we have a team of mixed ages and cricket knowledge so feel certain we might manage at least a respectable performance.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Selsey Lifeboat week - preview of our Competition

Selsey RNLI Lifeboat week starts this Sunday with Launch day on Sunday 1st August - please make a note to avoid diving the Lifeboat Station that day as there will be the Raft Race and lots of Lifeboats providing displays.

We have a competition to raise funds for Selsey RNLI; here's some brief details:
  • win a free trip on Phoenix to the Far Mulberry for you and your buddy - 3 prizes to be won with a value of £42 each
  • win by guessing the number of trips completed in 2010 by Phoenix and the number of divers carried in the period January 1st to and including August 31st.
  • entry fee per guess (trips and divers) £2.50 - 5 guesses for £10...............all entry fees will be donated to Selsey Lifeboat week fundraising
  • in the event of a tie, we will ask each entrant to complete the PADI Open Water Exam - highest score wins

Entry by cash / cheque only please since the money will be handled separately and not through Mulberry Divers.

Friday, 16 July 2010

16th July - WIND!

We expected some wind last night but the forecast didn't quite match what arrived on Wednesday night - 50knot SW winds for most of the night meant adrift boats, some small boats underwater and Phoenix's cover not quite as we left it! Swam out to Phoenix and removed cover since I had insufficient strength to wrestle the cover back in place against the still strong wind - on the way helped with the recovery of one sunken boat :-)
Restored cover yesterday evening with additional bungees and rope and glad to say it survived the night OK - pulled the remains of a very battered punt out of the water as well. The wind is still quite strong and we've decided to cancel tomorrow's boats given the forecast, the lack of visibility next to the beach and the expected sea state. Hopefully normal service will be resumed on Sunday.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

11th July - Initial wind, very slight drizzle then blue sky and sunshine - good visibility still

Rather strong SW F5 early this morning with some very slight drizzle (barely enough to dampen the ground) and grey skies - obviously our divers have foresight as no-one had booked on the first Landing Craft dive (it would have been cancelled due to the wind and expectations of low vis) but by the time we opened this morning the blue sky and sunshine had arrived. The second dive, our local drift dive provided a nice fast drift (approx a knot), plenty of dogfish, a ray and smiling faces :-). Stormforce arrived at East Beach as Phoenix prepared to depart and reported 8m+ vis on the Northcotes. Final dive was the Far Mulberry - vis still good although the continuing SW breeze meant a modest swell.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

10th July - Seamist /Fog - Lots and Lots of Dogfish - Good Visibility

First planned dive today (Brigitta / Teapot) was cancelled since no-one had booked on - not sure since we would have expected good visibility despite the SW wind - maybe it's the relatively early start since tomorrow's first dive has also had no bookings (Landingcraft at 0915 although I suspect that this vis might not be so good) - so I spent the early morning in the pool helping with our second Open Water course of the month.

Seamist (fog!) appeared mid-morning and led me to consider whether it would be safe for the drift dive - luckily blue sky re-appeared at the planned departure time so we left for the local site; water slightly cooler than under the Lifeboat (17/18 against 19/20) and wind over tide so some chop to the waves. As now normal for this dive,plenty of dogfish and what sounds like a large plaice all seen on the fairly fast drift. Quick turn-around at the beach, and a careful eye on the transitory seamist before departing for the Mulberry. Definite swell out here now and Pagham not visible due to the seamist - briefed the divers to take account of the conditions and what to do if they planned to leave the Mulberry. Shoals of pollack and bib with many lobsters (ncluding one very large) all seen and a particularly friendly tompot blenny (sounds as if Phil's blenny from four years ago has moved from the corner across the bow face - wonder how long they live?). Just before the divers surfaced blue sky and brilliant sunshine returned although still a slightly wet trip back into the wind.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

4th July - Rays, good vis and some breeze!

Our rescheduling of the planned dives paid off and we managed to fit all three dives in despite the rising wind.

Early this morning, a nice Slight sea state for the Mixon - 10m visibility; plenty of crabs and lobsters and the ledge full of life. A quick turn-around and then out for our local drift - visibility about 6m and Thornback Rays seen by nearly all the divers - by now the wind had picked up but stayed SW - WSW- the trip back was bracing shall we say. Another quick turn-around and together with Stormforce off to the Mulberry. The divers that followed the line out to the Cuckoo saw a large Ray (ungulate maybe?) beside the line - visibility again good despite the increasing wind - a slightly smoother trip back this time following Stormforce.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

3rd July - Thornback Rays, Dogfish - 5m vis

Last night we had a staff dive on the Mulberry - visibility was easily 5m although a torch was essential to see any detail - several young dogfish watched us swim past and at the end as we came along the NW / SW side we were delighted to see that the shoal of bib was back in its usual position near the shotline. There were several shoals of juvenile bib as we circumnavigated, some large wrasse and a few lobsters - the others had found several nudibranchs but I think it was too dark by the time we got in. Pleasant cruise back with a glorious red sunset.

First dive today was the Selsey drift; West to East today and finishing about 300m short of the Mulberry - thornback rays, many dogfish, crabs, flatfish all seen - speed estimated at approx 1 knot. The wind had picked up somewhat by the time of the Far Mulberry dive - good vis again; back against the wind so rather wet! No-one had booked on the planned Landing Craft dive at the end of the day - obviously good foresight since by then the W F5 would have made the trip round uncomfortable and probably also worsened the vis.

Much debate this afternoon about tomorrow's forecast and how best to reschedule - settled for bringing forward the second dive and replacing the planned Britsum with the Mulberry since it should be more sheltered. (the Britsum is proving popular this year - plenty of metal (well spread out) and good marine life).